LIV Golf: Was 2023 the Downfall of a Titan?

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LIV Golf in 2024 - What is the future of the Tour - How will the new recruits get on - Will there be more big name switches?
Posted on
January 16, 2024
Andy Newmarch in
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

A year like no other

The end of one year and the beginning of another often provide time for reflection. In the world of professional golf, there is much to reflect upon after a year that wasn’t short of surprises.

From the PGA Tour’s unexpected merger with LIV Golf to the rumoured collapse of the aforementioned merger and then Jon Rahm’s stunning defection to LIV, it has, to say the least, been a turbulent year for golf.

Most of these changes point towards a future where two professional golf leagues operate side by side. In theory, there shouldn't be anything wrong with that and this should in practice, offer golf fans more viewing choices. The problem however, is that LIV Golf in its current form is unwatchable.

It's unfortunate because having an alternative league to watch is commonplace for most other sports.

LIV, laugh, switch off

Take football, for example, when fans don’t want to sit through an entire Super Sunday match. They have the choice of switching over to one of the other top leagues in Europe, which are more likely to offer compelling viewing.

Whether it's games involving  Real Madrid, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, or Paris Saint-Germain, having multiple leagues on the go provides entertainment and captivating subplots during the Premier League’s war of attrition fixtures.

The same could also be true in golf whenever a PGA Tour event like the Rocket Mortgage Classic is played as fans would benefit from switching over to LIV Golf to watch an alternative tournament. As it stands, this isn't a viable option as the rival competition to the PGA Tour doesn't capture the imagination for a few reasons.

To start with, LIV’s events offer very little in the way of jeopardy; last place in the 13 events in the upcoming 2024 season will take home a minimum of £100,000. It’s ultimately hard to get invested in the trials and tribulations of a player’s round when they are guaranteed to make an eye-watering amount of money, irrespective of whether they shoot 65 or 95.

In addition, the LIV only 'works' if it maintains the status of a lucrative league, full of the planet's best players who have thoroughly earned a place among champions. The inescapable truth, however, is that LIV’s roster is littered with players who happen to be in the right place at the right time in history. Recent LIV addition Kieran Vincent is a good example of this as the Zimbabwean managed to earn his invite to the Saudi-backed league, despite being ranked as world number 403.

Of course, it would be unfair to say that all of LIV’s roster is undeserving of the lavish rewards they are getting. Jon Rahm, for instance, is one of the best golfers in the world and will start 2024 as the favourite (he's currently priced at odds of 8/1) to defend the Green Jacket he won at Augusta National in 2023.

To that end, golf fans who think that LIV’s most high-profile player can make it to back-to-back titles at the Masters can claim free bet no deposit bonuses from this list of bookmakers such as Paddy Power, Fafabet, and Midnite, which are offering up to £50 in some instances.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of early Masters bets have been placed on the Spaniard, and for good reason; Rahm is virtually unstoppable on his day. With Rahm’s career record in mind, you can’t begrudge him the rewards that being the globe’s best player brings.

17th Green at Valderrama, Spain - host to LIV in June 2024 - image from Andy Newmarch

Golf's gold rush

Most of LIV’s other players, however, are benefiting from being caught up in the civil war going on in professional golf. They're not to blame and are simply making the best of a fortune situation but equally, most people aren't going to go out of their way to watch them play.

That is LIV Golf in a nutshell - the unconvincing product on offer doesn't match the astronomical prizes being handed out. It's a blueprint for failure and will ensure that the majority of golf fans remain sceptical in 2024.

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About Andy Newmarch

Being one of the original owners of the ‘Top 100 Golf Courses’ website enabled Andy to travel far and wide playing and rating courses, with the numbers somewhere around 1200 courses in 40 countries. Although now away from the day-to-day grind of course ranking, having a keen eye on course developments is still high on the agenda. Currently hanging on to a handicap index of 9.9 he is probably as competitive on the course than ever but more often than not will compliment this by relaxing at the 19th hole to make up for the hard work!

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